A South African swimming champion who accused her American opponent of calling her a racist and saying he had been raped has said she regrets the remarks.
Racism was not something I could really be held responsible for, Nana Kipke told The Associated Press in an interview on Friday.
But her comments were also “very hurtful to the entire community,” she said.
Kipkes said she was “not surprised” by the comments because she was also a member of the International Swimming Federation and the Olympic Swimming Association.
Kipkes, 27, said she did not realize she had upset her opponent when he repeatedly asked her to compete in the U.N. Championship in Tokyo, saying, “You will have your chance.
I know you have the talent and will be a great competitor.”
But she also said she had not meant to disrespect her opponent, saying he should be given a chance to prove himself.
“I think what I did was a very unfortunate act.
And I’m sorry that people feel that way,” Kipkets said.
The two women also competed in the same Olympic event, but Kipkins said she wanted to qualify for Tokyo to win gold.
Kipskes said the comments were “outrageous” and she felt betrayed by her Olympic teammates and U.A.E. “It was not what I thought was going to happen.
I thought we were going to be the next big story,” she added.
The American Olympic Committee announced in March that it would ban women from swimming at all Olympics.
In the days since the news broke, the AOC said the decision would be reviewed.
“We have had a very strong, thoughtful and open conversation and I’m pleased that it is now clear that we have taken the right action,” Olympic spokesman Scott Blackmun said in a statement.
“We remain committed to ensuring that the integrity of our sport remains at the forefront of all Olympic processes, including those surrounding inclusion and inclusionary swimming.”